THE PATMOS VISION
John On Patmos
Revelation 1:9, "I, John, who also am your brother and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the Word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ."
This series of visions of the Revelation of the Person of Jesus Christ was given to John while he was banished to the Isle of Patmos. This small island is thirty miles off the coast of Asia Minor in the Aegean Sea. Being rocky and infested with snakes, lizards and scorpions, it had little commercial value, so it was used by the Roman Empire for a penal colony where were housed the more desperate criminals, political prisoners, etc.
You will notice that John has addressed himself to the Christians as a brother in tribulation. It was at this time that the early church was going through great persecutions. Their religion was not only "everywhere spoken against" but the people themselves were imprisoned and killed. John, like multitudes of others, was now suffering imprisonment for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. When arrested, they tried in vain to kill him by boiling him in oil for twenty-four hours. The enraged and powerless officials then sentenced him to Patmos as a witch. But God was with him, and he was spared to leave the island and return to Ephesus where he again continued as pastor until the time of his death.
The visions that John received covered a period of two years, AD 95-96. They are the most remarkable of all visions in the Word. The entire book is set forth in symbols, and therefore is the target of much criticism and dispute. However, it does have the seal of God upon it. That makes it authentic and of tremendous value to all who read or listen to its sacred pages.
IN THE SPIRIT ON THE LORD'S DAY
Revelation 1:10, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet."
"I was in the Spirit." Isn't that just beautiful? My, I love that. You could just call those words, "The whole of the Christian life." If we are going to live as Christians, we have to be in HIS Spirit. John was not talking about being in his own spirit. That would not have brought these visions. It had to be the Spirit of God. It has to be the Spirit of God with us, too, or all our efforts are in vain. Paul said, "I will pray in the Spirit, I will sing in the Spirit, I will live in the Spirit." If there is anything good that will come to me it has to be revealed by the Spirit, confirmed by the Word, and made manifest by the results it bears. As surely as John needed to be in the Spirit to receive these tremendous revelations fresh from Jesus, we need to be in the Spirit to understand the revelations that God has given to us to live by in His Word, for it is the same Spirit.
Look at it this way. All too many read the Bible where it says in Acts 2:38, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost," and just pass right on. They don't see it. If they saw it, by getting in the Spirit, they would know that if they want to receive the Holy Spirit, they need to repent and be baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus and then God would be duty bound to fulfill His Word by filling them with the Holy Ghost. They never get in His Spirit or it would happen to them exactly as the Word says. Pray to God for a revelation by His Spirit. That is the first step. Get in the Spirit.
Let me just use another illustration. Suppose you need healing. What does the Word say? Well, we have all read it countless times, but did not get in the Spirit when reading it. Did we ask God for His Spirit to teach us the real truth of it? If we did, we would call the elders, confess our sins, be anointed and prayed for, and that would be that. It might not come immediately, but in His Spirit, it is all over. There is no other court of appeal. God will fulfill His Word. Oh, we need to get in the Spirit, and then things will be done. DON'T GO THROUGH THE ACTS FIRST. GET IN THE SPIRIT AND THEN GO THROUGH THE ACTS AND WATCH WHAT GOD WILL DO.
Have you ever noticed how the world gets into the spirit of things that are in the world? They go to their ball games, their sporting events, and their dances. They enter into the spirit of it. They don't sit there like wall flowers, old dried up sticks. They enter right into the feel of things and become a part of things. But, oh, how they hate the Christians for getting into the Spirit of God's Word. They call us fanatics and holy-rollers. There is nothing they won't do to show their hatred and disapproval. But ignore that. You can expect it, knowing where it is coming from. Just go on and get in the Spirit of worship.
Our spirit is clean. It is fresh. It is real. It is sober and serious but nonetheless, full of the joy of the Lord. The Christian ought to be just as exuberant and full of his pleasure in the Lord as the world is when it savors and delights in its pleasures. Both Christians and the world are human; both have emotions. The difference is the Christians' hearts and emotions are purely on the Lord of Glory and His love, while the world satisfies the flesh.
Now it says that John was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day.
Oh, my, here is a verse that really causes some dissension. Not that it needs to, or ought to, but some just don't see what the Word really says.
First of all we find some fine folks that call the Lord's Day, the Sabbath Day, which to them is Saturday. Then there are the others who call the Lord's Day, Sunday, the first day of the week. But how could it be either of these days, or even the two put together, for John was in the Spirit receiving those visions for a period of two years. Actually what had happened was that John was caught up in the Spirit and transported into the Lord's Day, which is yet to come. The Bible speaks of the Day of the Lord which is to be in the future, and John is now seeing the things of that future day. But in the meantime, just to settle our minds, let us find out exactly what the Sabbath is today.
The Sabbath, as we know it from the New Testament, is NOT the keeping of a certain day. We have no command whatsoever to keep Saturday for a Sabbath, nor do we have any commandment to keep the first day of the week, which is Sunday. Here is the truth of the Sabbath, which means "rest." Hebrews 4:8, "For if Jesus had given them rest (or rest day), then would He not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest (Sabbath keeping) to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His." Did you hear that key phrase in the last part of the verse? "God ceased from His own works." God gave Israel the seventh day for their Sabbath, in commemoration of His own work wherein He created the world and all that was therein, and then stopped creating. He ceased from His labors. He rested. Now it was fine to give a Sabbath rest to a people who were all in one place at one time, so they could all keep a certain day. Today half the world is in light while the other half is in darkness, so it wouldn't work at all. But that is just an argument from the natural.
Let's see what the Bible teaches us about this Sabbath rest. "For he that is entered into his rest." This entering in is not only entering in, but remaining in, the rest. It is an `eternal rest' of which the seventh day is but a type. `Seven' is completion. `Eight' is the `first' day again. Jesus' resurrection was in the first day of the week, giving us eternal life and eternal Sabbath rest. Thus we see why God could not give us any one certain day of the week as a Sabbath (rest). We've `entered into' and do `remain in' our rest, which Israel could not do, having only a shadow of the true substance which we enjoy. Why go back to a shadow when we have reality now?
How we receive this rest, or continuing Sabbath, is at the invitation of Jesus. He said in Matthew 11:28,29, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; ... and ye shall find rest (or keeping of the Sabbath, not a day, but eternal life, Sabbath) unto your souls." No matter how long you have been laboring under your load of sin, whether it is ten years, thirty years or fifty years, or longer, come with your tired weary life and you will find His rest (the true Sabbath). Jesus will give you rest.
Now exactly what is that rest that Jesus will give? Isaiah 28:8-12, "For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean. Whom shall He teach knowledge? and whom shall He make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak to this people. To whom He said, This is the rest (Sabbath) wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest (or keeping of His Sabbath); and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear." Here it is prophesied right here in Isaiah. And it came to pass about 700 years later at Pentecost when they were all filled with the Holy Ghost exactly as it was said they would be. This is the true Sabbath that was promised. Thus when they were filled with the Holy Ghost they ceased from their worldly works, their worldly doings, their evil ways. The Holy Ghost took charge of their lives. They entered into rest. There is your rest. That is your Sabbath. It is not a day, nor a year, but the eternity of being filled and blessed in the Holy Spirit. It is you ceasing, and God doing. It is God in you willing and doing of His good pleasure.
Let me make one more note about the Saturdarians who claim that we meet on the wrong day of the week when we meet on Sunday, the first day. Here is what Justin said in the second century. "On Sunday a meeting is held of all who live in cities and villages, and a section is read of the memoirs of the apostles and the writings as long as time permits. When the reading is finished, the president in a discourse gives the admonition and exhortation to imitate those noble things. After this we all arise to offer common prayer. At the close of the prayer, as we have described, bread and wine are placed before us, and thanksgiving made and the congregation answers, "Amen". Then the elements are distributed to each one and are partaken of and carried by the deacons to the house of the absent. The wealthy and willing then give contributions according to their free will and this collection is deposited with the president who therewith supplies orphans, widows, prisoners, strangers in want." Thus we see that those who claim the early church carried on the Judaic tradition of assembling on the last day of the week are grossly ignorant of what history actually sets forth, and are therefore not worthy of confidence.
Oh, that people might come unto Him and find that rest. There is a cry in all hearts for that rest but the majority don't know the answer. So they try to still the cry by a religious process of keeping certain days or accepting denominational creeds and dogmas. But failing in that, many try drinking, carousing, and every physical excess, thinking that by worldly pleasures there can be some satisfaction. But in such there is no rest. They smoke and take pills to quiet their nerves. But there is no rest in earthly potions. They need Jesus. They need the heavenly remedy, the rest of the Spirit.
Then the most of them go to church on Sunday. That is good but even there they have no idea of how to approach God and how to worship Him. Jesus said that true worship was in Spirit and in truth, John 4:24. But what kind of worship can you get in a church that knows so little of God it puts up a Santa Claus at Christmas and bunnies at Easter? Where did they get that? They got it from the pagans and made it a part of the church doctrine. But when one turns to the Lord and is filled with the Holy Ghost he ceases from all such things. He has a rest in his soul. He really begins to live, and love God and worship Him.
Now let's get back to our Scripture. We know what the Lord's Day is not. If it is not Saturday or Sunday, what is it? Well, let's put it this way. Today is certainly not the Lord's Day. This is man's day. It is man's doing, man's work, man's church, man's idea of worship, man's everything, for it is man's world (cosmos). BUT THE DAY OF THE LORD IS COMING. Yes, it is. It is just that at this time of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, John was taken up by the Spirit and transported by the Spirit to that Great Day that is coming. The Lord's Day is when the days of man are over. The kingdoms of this world will then become the kingdoms of our God. The day of the Lord is when the judgments fall, and after that comes the millennium. Right now the world does what it wants to do with the Christian. They call him all manner of evil names, making fun of him. But there is coming that great and notable day when they will wail and howl, for the Lamb is coming in wrath to judge the world. That is when the righteous will have their day with the Lord, for the wicked shall burn and the righteous will walk over their ashes into the millennium. Malachi 4:3, "And ye shall tread down the wicked for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts." 7ch004.htm
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